Fr. Thomas Colyandro
Prayers of Thanksgiving
Sacred Scripture reveals that not only are we called to communicate with God in prayer, but also that there is meaning in praying certain prayers at certain times. That is why Sacred Tradition calls us pray with the same depth as Mary, the Theotokos, who is the model of obedience to God; and to pray with the Church, which through the Holy Spirit, is the place we find our sanctification.
By following this path of prayer, not only will we find ourselves connected to the human Jesus who lived and prayed the cycle of Jewish prayers, but also to the divine Christ who reveals Himself to us in those very prayers. To understand more of what this means, take a moment to understand the different types of vocal prayer and how they may properly apply to various times in liturgy and in life:
Blessing – these prayers recognize that God blesses man and man blesses God in return;
Adoration – these are the prayers of respectful silence that pay homage to the Lord;
Petition – these are the supplicatory prayers that plead with the Lord to assist us in life;
Intercession – these are prayers of mediation asking mercy from God on behalf of others;
Praise – these are hymns and canticles lauding God for being; and
Thanksgiving – these prayers express gratitude to God for freedom from sin and death.
St. Paul demonstrated that offering prayers of thanksgiving to God are appropriate almost any time you communicate or gather with others. His letters, in fact, begin and end with thanksgiving: ‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’ (1 Thess 5:18).; ‘Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving’ (Col 4:2).
Perhaps, then, before sitting down to eat today, you can gather your friends and family around the table and pray Psalm 138 together:
"I give thee thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise; I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word. On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord, for they have heard the words of thy mouth; and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands."